Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Going to the Grand Review Parade in Washington, DC to celebrate the American victory in the Civil War

May 17, 2015 I will be in Washington, DC to celebrate the American victory during the Civil War.

The web page for the event is:

I plan on watching the parade and attending the events of the day.

I am glad that there is a celebration of American victory during the Civil War.

This is one of the Facebook Pages for the even.

Click on the video to open it up to see all of it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kevin Levin and "faithful slaves"

Kevin Levin has an article, "A Confederate General and His Slave,"  published at the History News Network.

It is about Confederate general Edward Porter Alexander and a slave Gen. Alexander called Charley.

Levin explains that:
Regardless of the trust and privileges extended to camp servants, eventually some form of discipline was necessary. While soldiers in the ranks were disciplined to maintain order within a complex hierarchy, officers disciplined their servants as a reminder of their absolute authority. Alexander recalled giving Charley “a little licking but twice—once for robbing a pear tree in the garden of the Keach house, in which we were staying on the outskirts of Richmond below Rocketts, & once in Pa. just before Gettysburg, for stealing apple-brandy & getting tight on it.” It is impossible to know whether Charley considered his punishment a “little licking.” The ability to discipline a servant not only ensured continued compliance to certain expectations, but also likely reflected the servant's willingness to challenge those set boundaries. A whipping or "licking" constituted the most direct way to reset the master-slave relationship.
This discipline was necessary to who? I don't think Charley thought this discipline was necessary. He didn't have a choice, he was a slave. Free he could have chosen his own employment and not have to live in a dangerous environment in a racist pro-slavery army.

Then there is this statement:
It is unknown how long Charley was gone for and it is likely that he spent a good deal of time out from under Alexander's direct view, but with the Union army opposite Fredericksburg, he would have had an opportunity to escape as did many other camp servants by the middle of the war. It is difficult to speculate as to why Charley never followed other camp servants to freedom.
If you were caught trying to escape you were killed. Making the attempt wasn't a stroll.  Kevin is hinting that maybe Charley didn't want to escape.

However, the conclusion of the article is really a whopper.
Close to four years of close interaction must have generated strong bonds of affection between the two, but we must never lose sight of the fact that whatever emotional connections existed they did so within a strictly defined master-slave relationship.
"must have generated strong bonds of affection between the two"? Really getting beaten by a man who is compelling you to labor and ordering around all the time for no pay is going to generate bonds of affection? It might have, but "must"? I don't think so.

The article isn't very informative about history but is very informative about Kevin Levin who is unfortunately an all two common type in the world of Civil War enthusiasts.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kevin Levin wants people to stop talking about this neo-Confederate stuff and leave the Civil War to experts like himself. Also, the banal white nationalist progressively reveals himself.

Kevin Levin represents a certain type of thinking among Civil War enthusiasts and Civil War scholars. Examining his attitudes is good to illustrate this certain type of thinking

For these types of Civil War enthusiast the Civil War is to be a nostalgic toy soldier game and all this discussion about race and neo-Confederates just isn't wanted. He, like others in the circles of the Civil War enthusiasts longs for the Civil War Round Tables of the 1960s.

Recently he has really outdone himself.


There is this blog posting where he is upset with Brian Buetler advocating for a national holiday celebrating the preservation of the United States and the end of slavery.

New Republic Brian Buetler's proposal advocates that the American victory and Confederate defeat is a good thing and should be recognized as such and his proposal directly confronts the Confederate memorialization that saturates the former Confederate states and even slave states that didn't secede.

The links to the two articles are:


The discussion of such a proposal would help people confront the civil religion of the former Confederate states and the idea that the Confederacy maybe isn't something to be celebrated. It would be a very salutary debate.

Levin response doesn't really get to specifics, the Lost Cause is supposedly a very complicated topic, and the subject of historical memory usually is, and because of this, Buetler's proposal is supposed a bad thing, but it isn't clear why the complexity of the phenomenon precludes Buetler's proposal. Levin emphasizes in his blog posting that Buetler isn't knowledgeable about Lost Cause historical memory unlike experts such as himself.


Then there is this posting.

The blog posting criticizes Jamelle Bouie's column about an Appomattox observance in Slate.

Bouie finds that the, "The emancipation of black Americans has been written out of our celebration of the Civil War’s end."

Anyone who has had a subscription to Civil War News, the newspaper of Civil War "re-enactors" and enthusiasts would realize that it is often true. Bouie's comments may not be true of every Civil War event, but they are true about a great many Civil War events, if not the majority of those not run by the National Park Service (NPS).

Levine refers to the NPS's three day Appomattox observance and gives this web page:

The NPS is realizing that non-white people aren't going out to the National Parks and with changing demographics the NPS is looking at a decline in support for the NPS in the future. So they are making an effort. They are bringing in the issue of slavery to the Civil War Battlefield parks, much to the consternation of the readers of Civil War News.

If an event isn't an NPS event it very well might be like the event Bouie encountered.


Then there is this blog posting criticizing Euan Hague's and my article in

Levin asserts that support for the Lost Cause is in full retreat. He writes about a bill in Texas to get ride of the Texas state holiday Confederate Heroes Day. However, it is very unclear whether this bill will pass.

There is a growing opposition to the Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War and the Confederacy and I have seen progress in some areas, however I don't see necessarily the Lost Cause necessarily retreating and much less than in full retreat.

Levin is just picking a few examples to support his point and of course since he doesn't want to acknowledge the existence of neo-Confederacy, because of that, he only looks at certain aspects of the public and historical memory and not others, and only some issues and not others.

In 2011 the Pew Research Center did a poll on attitudes towards the Civil War. This is the link:

One poll result was very disturbing. Quoting from the report:
Young people are more likely than older Americans to say that the war’s main cause was states’ rights – 60% of those younger than 30 express this view, the highest percentage of any age group. Those 65 and older are the only age group in which more say that slavery, rather than states’ rights, was the main cause of the Civil War (by 50% to 34%). While 48% of whites view states’ rights was the war’s main cause, so too do 39% of African Americans.
It seems that with time a Lost Cause view of the Civil War may become dominate.  

Even if Texas acts to get rid of Confederate Heroes Day which is not likely to happen, the state of Texas has acted to ensure that the teaching of Civil War and Reconstruction in Texas public schools will teach a Lost Cause view. Even if the Confederate Heroes Day is dropped, with public schools teaching a Lost Cause understanding of history it won't be too long before it is readopted.

This was an assessment of the Texas Teaching standards in the Washington Post.
"Elements of the Texas curriculum standards give undue legitimacy to neo-Confederate arguments about “states’ rights” and the legacy of slavery in the South. While most publishers avoid problems with these issues, passages in a few U.S. history and government textbooks give a nod to these misleading arguments."

Since Levin refuses to acknowledge neo-Confederacy he ignores how neo-Confederate ideology is percolating into the conservative movement in the country.

As an example, many of the "Politically Incorrect" series of conservative books have made the New York Times best seller list. A great many of them, including ones which made the NYT bestseller list, are written by persons who are active in the neo-Confederate movement.  This is only one example where neo-Confederates are mainstreaming their ideas.

The Politico article may well upset Levin because it shows that the SCV isn't just a nostalgic group involved in "southern heritage," as he likes to label these type of groups, but a nasty reactionary group.

People are rejecting the Lost Cause and becoming aware of the existence of the neo-Confederate movement and really not liking it. They are willing to call it a bunch of toxic rubbish and strongly express their opinions that it is a bunch of toxic rubbish and that it needs to be thrown out with the trash.

This alarms Levin. 

NOTE: I define banal white nationalism in this essay:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Matt Vespa at "Hot Air." Scott Whitlock at "Newsbusters," Trent Lott explained in the "Southern Partisan" years ago that the Republican Party was the party of Jefferson Davis

Harold Meyerson had an editorial April 8, 2015 that the Republican Party was the party of Jefferson Davis. It is online here:

So some conservative commentators have taken offense at it. Scott Whitlock at Newsbusters:

Matt Vespa at a conservative website Hot Air.

Former Republican U.S. Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi in 1984 explained how the Republican party was the part of Jefferson Davis.

Harold Meyerson with the Washington Post is just catching up on this.  Phil Gramm, former Republican Senator of Texas had an interview in Southern Partisan which largely said the same thing, but more obliquely.

This is what former U.S. Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi explained in a Southern Partisan interview (Fall 1984, Vol. 4 No. 4):

Page 44
Partisan: At the convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Biloxi, Mississippi you made the statement that "the spirit of Jefferson Davis lives in the 1984 Republican Platform." What did you mean by that?
Lott: I think that a lot of the fundamental principals that Jefferson Davis believed in are very important today to people all across the country, and they apply to the Republican Party. .... After the War between the States, a lot of Southerners identified with the Democrat Party because of the radical Republicans we had at the time, particularly in the Senate. The South was wedded to that party for years and years and years. But we have seen the Republican Party become more conservative and more oriented toward traditional family values, the religious values that we hold dear in the South. And the Democratic party has been going in the other direction. As a result of that, more and more of The South's sons, Jefferson Davis' descendants, direct or indirect, are becoming involved in the Republican Party. The platform we had in Dallas, the 1984 Republican platform, all the ideas we supported there --- from tax policy, to foriegn policy: from individual rights, to neighborhood security --- are things that Jefferson Davis believed in.

Later in the interview complaining about the Voting Rights Act:

Page 46
Partisan: Well, you were very successful early in the administration, with the economic program, but so often when it comes to an issue of great importance to the South --- one that comes to mind is the renewal of the punitive Voting Rights Legislation -- even some of our Southern Republicans seemed to have backbones of jelly. You are one of the few who took a stand against that legislation which, with the "effects test," is far worse than the original version of the legislation.

Lott: We tried to improve on it; we tried to hold off some of those changes that make it even more punitive, and the "effects test" is one example. But I have always maintained that if the same laws were applicable to say, Queens, New York that are applicable to other Southern states, Queens wouldn't be in compliance. ... There is no escape hatch for us. They are still trying to exact Reconstruction legislation that is just not fair. [Followed by a lengthy complaint that if you vote against civil rights legislation people say you are against civil rights.]

Later in the interview complaining about voting or a Martin Luther King holiday:

Page 47

Partisan: We have another example which seems to defy political reality. The Republican party gets very little of the black vote. Yet when you come with a controversial issue like the King holiday, which more or less made Martin Luther King a symbol equivalent to George Washington, you find a vast majority of Republicans --- even Southern Republicans -- going along. Where is the gain for the Republican Party? The one instance where it has been disproven as a political advantage, Jesse Helms was 200 points down in North Carolina before he made this a more issue with his opponent. Then Helms pulled up to a neck-and-neck position in the poll. 
Lott: Well, I think it is a mistake to vote for something like that. It is either needed or not, it is either right or wrong. And I would not vote for another national holiday for anybody, including Thomas Jefferson. I would vote for eliminating some of the ones we already have, as a matter of fact. Look at the cost involved in the Martin Luther King holiday and the fact that we have not done it for a lot of other people that were more deserving. I just think it was basically wrong. ...

"The Civil War's Dirty Secret: It Was Always About Slavery," by Christopher Dickey at the "Daily Beast"

The Lost Cause view of the Confederacy and the Civil War is rejected emphatically in this article by Christopher Dickey at the Daily Beast.

The article concludes:

But there are times, and maybe today is one of those times, when one looks at the great questions of race and rights in the United States and realizes the spirit of the fire-eaters—their rationalization of racism, their contempt for the federal government, their penchant for violence, their self-deluding vision of their place in the world, and their desire to impose their values on the majority—all that, I am afraid, lives on.

David Blight on the Civil War and modern politics.

David Blight has an article at The Atlantic online news page here:

A quote from the article
Although these contemporary echoes from previous centuries ought not be treated as straight equivalence between past and present, far-right federalists, who dominate the movement called the Tea Party, and who have found a vigorous leadership position at the heart of the Republican Party and on the federal judiciary, have much in common with the secessionists of 1861. Both groups are distinct minorities who have suddenly seized an inordinate degree of power due to congressional districting practices and effective use of conspiracy theories about centralization and the “leviathan” state. One acted in revolution to create and save a slaveholders’ republic; the other seems determined to render the modern federal government all but obsolete for any purpose beyond national defense and the protection of private citizens from having to participate in a social contract with their fellow citizens in tax-supported programs such as Social Security, Medicare, public education, environmental protection, or disaster relief. Both groups claim their mantle of righteousness in the name of “liberty,” privatization, hyper-individualism and racial supremacy (one openly, the other covertly). Both vehemently claim the authority of the “Founders” as though the American Revolution and the creation of the Constitution have no history. Modern-day states’ rightists and sometimes nullifiers embrace versions of federalism that might once have been thought all but buried in the mass slaughter of the Civil War, or in the imperatives of the New Deal’s response to the Great Depression, or in the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights Acts, or in the battle over the Environmental Protection Agency. But history does not end; it keeps happening. The radical wing of the conservative movement in America, still ascendant in Congress and dominant in most of the South, seems determined to repeal much of the twentieth-century social legislation, and even tear up its constitutional and social roots in the transformations of the 1860s. As Americans disturbingly learn, generation after generation, many have never fully accepted the verdicts of Appomattox.
The article did get this negative response from National Review.

The geography of politics and the Confederacy, an interesting article with maps from "The Economist"

The following is an interesting article about the geography of politics and the Confederacy with maps published in "The Economist."

Friday, April 10, 2015

Quartz has a good article about how the Civil War was over slavery, not states' rights

The article is here:

It’s a self-delusion some use to justify neo-Confederate pride: stars-and-bars bumper stickers, or remnants of Confederate iconography woven into some of today’s state flags. “It’s about Southern pride,” they insist. “It’s about heritage”—forgetting, intentionally perhaps, that slavery and its decade-spanning echoes are very much a part of the collective American heritage. Confederate denialism, in the form of states’ rights advocacy, permits sentimentalists to keep their questionable imagery without having to address its unsavory associations.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Politico article about the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the neo-Confederate movement. SCV racial attitudes made very clear. UPDATE: League of the South blog loses its mind over article. UPDATE2: Free Republic response to article

An article about the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and the neo-Confederate movement by Euan Hague with my assistance has been published at Politico. It is a two page article, don't miss the 2nd section.

The link is:

People reading the article will realize what SCV "heritage" is really about. 

Some extracts from the article:
Some of the SCV’s most troubling viewpoints are expressed in forums and publications intended for an internal audience, such as Southern Mercury magazine. In these venues, authors such as Frank Conner argue that 19th century African-Americans were a “childlike people” whose inferior IQs were deliberately hidden by liberal academics. In turn, Michael W. Masters, who in the 1990s contributed to the white supremacist American Renaissance and was a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, found a new audience for his assessments in SCV venues. In one piece from 2006 Masters argues that the very basis of Western civilization is under attack by proponents of “multiculturalism” and the “tolerance of diversity” who work to engineer “envy and hatred of white people, reverse racism through affirmative action and race-based entitlements…, [and] an uncontrolled flood of culturally alien Third World immigrants.”


In more public venues, the SCV’s dog-whistle politics come into play. Casting an eye over recent events in Ferguson and elsewhere, although never explicitly stating this, SCV deputy commander-in-chief Thomas V. Strain Jr. recently decried the “young men with no guidance attacking law-abiding citizens and law enforcement officers,” officers who, when they “remedy the situation and protect the innocent … are called murderers.” The lineage of today’s events, he lamented, goes back to Reconstruction (1865-1877), a period when “our ancestors … were stripped of their arms, their voting rights, their means of supporting themselves—and in many cases their very homes” as the “central government… create[d] a form of dependency–in return for votes.”
What the neo-Confederate movement and the SCV is all about is made very clear in this article.

I plan on printing out copies to send to churches that might be considering hosting the SCV. 


The League of the South blog has been so upset that they did the following blog posting.

The author of the blog posting is so upset that he can't see straight.

For starters Heidi Beirich was not involved in writing the article. Euan Hague wrote it and I helped with research for the article. Beirich is one of the three co-editors of a book about neo-Confederates. However, the article upsets the blog poster so much that he can't read by byline properly.

Regarding Ferguson, the posting at the Rebellion blog selectively quotes the article. What is missing is this from the article:

The lineage of today’s events, he lamented, goes back to Reconstruction (1865-1877), a period when “our ancestors … were stripped of their arms, their voting rights, their means of supporting themselves—and in many cases their very homes” as the “central government… create[d] a form of dependency–in return for votes.”
There have been a lot of commentators regarding Ferguson, but probably only neo-Confederates relate Ferguson back to Reconstruction. The whole point of the article is how the SCV uses historical memory to support its world view and how the SCV isn't just a historical remembrance organization.

As the article states:
In this way, the Confederate “heritage” movement has gone way beyond tending graves and cutting grass at Confederate cemeteries or reenacting battles. Indeed, the idea that groups like the SCV represent Confederate “heritage” is a misnomer: They are political organizations that aggressively promote their versions of the Confederacy behind a veneer of benign ancestral reverence. In 2015, the Confederate flag comes with a reactionary, anti-democratic, anti-federal politics, a politics that reverberates through social media, talk radio, and niche publishers.
There are a log of political organizations with viewpoints regarding Ferguson, the SCV is one of them, not just a "heritage" group.

The Politico article is a good concise article about what neo-Confederacy is all about, that is why neo-Confederates, at least one, is so upset he can't read properly a byline.


Some of the posters at the forum do say that the Civil War is about slavery and reject emphatically the Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War. Others buy into one neo-Confederate idea or another.

What is interesting is that these conservatives who think they are so much more patriotic than others, aren't so patriotic when it comes to white supremacy, or the question might be raised to what are these Free Republic people patriotic to?

This is an essay on banal white nationalism.

Monday, April 06, 2015

New Republic article asks to celebrate Appomattox and reject the Lost Cause UPDATE: Brian Beutler has follow up article

The New Republic article by Brian Beutler is online and available at this link:

It is a total rejection of the Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War and the Confederacy and rejects totally accommodation with the Lost Cause.

Some quotes:
People of good faith can argue over whether these kinds of symbolic concessions (as opposed to the concrete ones, which consigned emancipated slaves to a century of sanctioned depredations) were wise or necessary means to the end of preserving the Union. Some of them weren't concessions at all, so much as insufficient commitment on the part of Northerners to the livelihood of blacks in the South. "[A]s Northern Republican Party became more conservative," historian Eric Foner wrote recently, "Reconstruction came to be seen as a misguided attempt to uplift the lower classes of society." But 150 years on, we know that subjugation is a moral obscenity, and that there's no valid modern argument for spitshining the Confederacy.
By contrast, the Union’s victory, and the abolition of slavery, both merit celebration as exemplars of American improvement and renewal, even if many Unionists weren’t moral heroes. These twin accomplishments are as worthy of a federal holiday as any holiday we already celebrate. So let's name April 9 New Birth of Freedom Day. And if that creates too much paid leave for government workers, we could swap out Columbus Day. We don't yet live in the America Obama described, but we should strive to.

In a better America, we’d all have Thursday off. And there would be fireworks.
Brian Beutler  is a Senior Editor of New Republic, it seems that the New Republic is taking a hardline against the Lost Cause.

UPDATE: This is a follow up article that Brian Beutler did in response to some of the res

ponse to his article.

Kevin Levin has a blog complaining about Brian Beutler also. I think when push comes to shove we find out who Levin really is.

As usual Levin doesn't address the points raised the article he doesn't like, but instead disparages the author and Levin is his usual condescending self.  Levin wants the reader to know that Beutler isn't likely to be a member of the League of Distinguished Civil War historians like himself.

I have always asserted that by pressing on this issue about celebrating the Confederacy you would be able to reveal who people really are as opposed to whom they think they are or might profess themselves to be.

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